I showed an interest in music from an early age despite no one in my family having a musical background. My first musical experiences were at a baby music class where the teacher told my mum to take me to the Royal Academy of Music for their fantastic ‘First String Experience’, which is where I began playing the violin. From the start we were taught in large groups, so I was playing in an orchestra for a few years before I had individual lessons!
As I progressed through school, chamber music and orchestral courses had a huge impact on me, especially the National Youth Orchestra, convincing me to pursue music professionally. Thanks to these opportunities, I was lucky enough to play under conductors such as Sir Colin Davis, Maren Alsop, Vladimir Jurowski and Vasily Petrenko and perform at major venues across the country, as well as the Proms.
I studied at the Royal College of Music with Radu Blidar for my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, leaving with a Distinction. I also discovered Historically Informed Performance and studied the Baroque violin with Catherine Martin, which now forms part of my freelance career. During my master’s, I went on Erasmus to study at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris with Philippe Graffin, studying chamber music with Itamar Golan. My Erasmus was one of the best experiences of my life, and the first time I had lived anywhere but London. Some of my highlights were playing alongside Ensemble InterContemporain in the Philharmonie de Paris, performing Ravel’s Piano Trio at the conservatoire and of course all the incredible food that I ate.
Whilst studying I also formed the Maconchy Quartet, which is one of my major passion projects. We have played at music festivals across the UK and in venues such as Buckingham Palace, the Royal Opera House and Southbank Centre, and are now launching our own concert series: RETAKE, to juxtapose overlooked music, especially by women, with new commissions and fresh programmes. Our specialism is Elizabeth Maconchy’s string quartet cycle, which has been woefully neglected, but which we hope to integrate into the canon.
I love travelling and have performed across Europe and Asia and in future hope to tour widely, although as an industry we need to find ways to reduce our impact on the climate. I am also passionate about accessibility in the arts and have volunteered with In Harmony Lambeth and performed in unusual venues as part of Birmingham’s Festival of Audacity, as well as in hospitals and residential care homes.
Royal College of Music
Where’s your favourite place to listen to music and why?
I love listening to music when I go travelling, especially on my own, as it brings back memories like nothing else. For instance, when I lived in Paris I made a playlist to remind me of everything that I experienced out there whenever I listen to it. It’s a selection of mostly French music, hip-hop and songs by an all-female Bulgarian choir.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
I might be a journalist as I like asking lots of questions and I would like to see more left-wing representation in the media. Otherwise I may have ended up working as a psychologist or in the charity sector.
Eloise is a member of the 2020-2021 fellowship.